Watching the debate last night, I couldn't help but being frustrated with the "undecided" votes in the country. I don't know how anyone could watch these two men speak and have conflicting emotions on who to support. Either you believe in a strong national security and responsible fiscal policies, or you don't. If these people are still confused after watching last night, maybe they just shouldn't vote. To quote a friend of mine "if these people aren't willing to do the research and make an informed decision, they shouldn't be allowed to vote!"
In defense of these "confused" voters, Obama did concede that McCain was right eight times in a nine question debate session. But that is where the similarities end. Obama approaches foreign policy with an emphasis on what America can do to make the world like us better. McCain is much more interested in keeping Americans safe, while spreading democracy throughout the world. Obama speaks as though the middle east appeared on the world map on September 11th, 2001. But then again why would he have? He was a state senator at the time focusing on important issues like teaching six year olds about contraception.
Obama fails to recognize that Islamic Extremists first made headlines back in the 1970's under an appeasement first President Jimmy Carter. The movement continued to grow, as McCain rightly pointed out last night, when America under estimated the power vacuum that would be caused in Afghanistan after we supported the Afghan's in forcing back invading Russians in the 1980's. The terrorists grew bold under the Clinton administration's watch averaging one major strike every 18 months. Starting with the bombing of the world trade center towers in 1993, through the multiple attacks on soft military targets like those in Kenya and the USS Cole just to name a few. The attacks on 9/11 were the beginning of something though, it was the day the United States decided to fight back. There hasn't been a successful attempt on a US target since. Newsflash for Obama, the day the 'world sentiment' was most with the United States as you are so fond of saying was on 9/11, when the world perceived the United States to be at our weakest. Why do you think that is? Was it because they truly felt sorry for the US or because it made them feel better to know that US was vulnerable to attack? Discuss amongst yourselves...
I knew that McCain had knocked it out of the park last night when the Obama camps first response was to claim that the debate highlighted McCain as being stuck in the past, and that Obama was the forward looking candidate. Why did I know Obama was spinning? Time after time during the debate when Obama was forced to define his foreign policy,(I use that term loosely) he responded by discussing what he perceived as 'mistakes' by the Bush administration. Obama mentioned Bush by name just 1 minute and fifteen seconds into the debate,if he could have held out for another 15 seconds I would have won the poll at our debate party! John McCain put a very fine point on this issue by simply saying explaining the next president won't be deciding if we made a mistake by going into Iraq, they will be responsible for successfully resolving the conflict. As much as Barrack attempted to hang the unpopularity of the Bush administration around John McCain's neck, it was McCain who cited Obama's position to stand by his vote against the surge despite it's overwhelming success as evidence that Obama was 'stubborn' and "inflexible" in his thinking, a nod those that have accused President Bush of being both.
After John McCain explained the importance of knowing America's history and learning from past experiences, Obama did the only thing he could. He deferred to Joe Biden. I'm not kidding, Obama actually spent one of his two minute rebuttals struggling to explain that Biden's experience was more important than his own. Since when do Presidential candidates get a pass for saying, well my VP knows enough for both of us? Can you imagine if John McCain answered anything, including how to field dress a moose, with ask Sarah Palin, do you think that might make a few headlines?
The presidential debates are supposed to act as a job interview for the candidates. Based on what I saw last night, not only do I think that Obama is unqualified for the position he is seeking, I'm not even sure he knows what it is. He seems to think he's running for President of the World, I don't know if any one's told him this isn't the Miss America Pageant, you don't get to run for Miss Universe if you win. I know Obama has spent most of his career campaigning for higher office, but this time he will actually have to do the job. He can't campaign his way through a presidency.
One of my favorite moments of the night came after Barrack Obama again defended his ridiculous statement about bombing Pak-E-Stan as he called it. McCain retorted almost in disbelief at the level of naivety in Obama's stance "You don't say that out loud". This highlighted a side conversation that my friends and I were having, in that some of Obama statements were reckless coming from a man who claims to want to be President. Speaking of reckless and naive, a few days ago I wrote that I was sure Joe Biden had 'borrowed' a few lines from a speech Ahmadinejad gave at the General Assembly of the United Nations referring to what he sees as the negative results of the American presence in Afghanistan. The line hadn't appeared in any of the official press releases from Biden's speech which prompted me to think that the Obama camp had buried the line in order to avoid the embarassing comparisons. My mistake, they actually thought it was so good, Obama used it again last night.
While Barrack Obama may have enough general knowledge on foreign affairs to earn himself a couple thousand bucks on Jeopardy, he certainly doesn't know enough to be president. What is worse is that he doesn't seem all that interested in learning. Obama's surrogates are always pointing how old John McCain is hoping to capitalize on the stereotype that older Americans are 'set in their ways' and 'out of touch' with the 'times'. These comments are not only discriminatory but also flat out wrong when talking about John McCain. Bill Clinton and I agree on few things but he was accurate when he introduced McCain earlier this week, as a man who consistently seeks the truth on every issue, commending McCain on his open mindedness on issues ranging from global warming to national security. John McCain is a man that seeks knowledge, his career is filled with hallmark descentions from the republican party due to his own personal research and opinion. Obama seems to think he already has all the answers, which is where his naivety becomes dangerous.
The media will tell you that Obama won the economic portion of this debate, as it is always their sentiment that a bad economy is good for Obama, but I'm sure your not surprised to find out that I disagree. Here's why, when Jim Lehrer asked the candidates what programs or initiatives they would have to cut due to the economic rescue package, Obama listed $250,000 of additional spending he would retain, while McCain said that he would continue with his plan to increase corporate tax cuts making them competitive in the global marketplace which would create new jobs and preserve exising ones. McCain insisted the best way to balance the budget was to reduce wasteful government spending. So Obama's plan to reduce the deficit is to increase spending promising, "I will pay for every dime of it", what he means is You, the taxpayer will pay for every dime of it. Now we know that his plan exceeds the current budget, so how do think he'll generate the additional 'revenue' as he calls it? One guess. The Taxpayer or you! You get to foot the bill so that every man woman and child in American has free health care, a college education and a Playstation 3 even if that means you can't afford to buy one for your own kids.
Barrack's main mission is to promote class warfare. He steals a page from John Edwards with his assertions of two Americas, but does it hold water? America is the only country on the planet that has a line at the entrance gates. It's the Log Ride in the amusement park of the world. Why would immigrants from all over the globe risk life and limb to to get to the United States if they had no chance of success? Because what Barrack Obama will not tell you is that, Success is achieved through hard work, commitment and personal responsibility in America, not from complaining that other people have more money than you do. The immigrants that fill our nation own businesses that support not only themselves but entire communities. They are not sitting around waiting for a government handout, many of them fled to this country to escape government control. But Obama's "it's not your fault it's their fault" position apparently resonates with some Americans, so I guess he'll be getting that all important victim/whiner vote.
Prior to the debate a significant amount of chatter revolved around how McCain would control his temper if challenged by Barrack. The talking heads all predicted it would be bad for McCain if Obama got under his skin enough to get a reaction. The only person who appeared rattled last night was Obama, often interrupting, grimacing, and raising his finger in objection like the lawyer he is. One of these sophomoric outbursts came while John McCain explained the lessons he felt we've learned in Iraq, relating his own story of returning home from a war without victory, Obama became jumpy, then McCain continued saying that he wore a bracelet given to him from a mother of soldier killed in Iraq, he told the story of how the mother like so many others asked him to make sure that her son had not died in vain, that the United States must finish the mission that her son supported. As McCain finished saying he had met with service members and their families he felt it was imperative to return our troops home with honor, not defeat, Obama smirked,shifted and twitched to the point that I became curious about what it was that Barrack deemed so important he could hardly contain himself. Obama almost bursting with excitement announced: "I have a Bracelet too!" Huh? That's what you've been dancing around at the podium to say, you have a bracelet? I hope who ever gave it to him asks for it back, Obama clearly doesn't the capacity to understand the sacrifice that bracelet represents.
Although this is just round one in a three part process, I can't imagine that the candidates could define themselves more clearly for the "undecided" voters. John McCain presents himself as a competent leader who stands up for what he believes is best for America regardless of it's popularity in the 'world view'. While Barrack Obama says whatever is going to advance his career. I've got a prediction for you based on a few post debate interviews I watched with the Obama camp. The narrative for this debate will be people don't care when the candidates talk about their records, they want to know what you're going to do Now. This is a convenient talking point for the Obama campaign, they don't want you to judge him on what he's actually done, they want you to guess what he'll do next. They don't want Americans to make an informed choice in this election because if all Americans took the time to research the history, McCain would win by a landslide.
John McCain's campaign slogan is "Country First", which seems an to be an honest evaluation of not only his own personal life experience but also how he views the President's role. Our founding fathers seemingly agree since one key job description of the President, involves protecting the United States interests in the world. Based on his performance tonight and throughout his campaign Obama should change his slogan to reflect his honest view of the world: "Me First".